Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Genre: YA, fantasy, retelling
Format: print ARC
Synopsis: Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale
At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.
Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.
Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
Unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to be the black sheep when it comes to this book.
I received an ARC in an Instagram giveaway, and proceeded to read it almost right away (shhhh let’s pretend like it didn’t take me forever to get around to writing this review). Much to my disappointment, however, this book was plain boring.
I’m lucky enough to say it’s been a while since I read one of these books, where I force myself to keep turning pages, and muddle my way through what feels like hours of uninteresting descriptions. Unfortunately, my luck was broken as soon as a started GMOSAG.
Overall, I didn’t feel like this book had anything to say, like there was any point to this story. Yes, there’s the exploration of Mina and Lynet’s relationship, which is a refreshing twist from the original fairytale, but it just wasn’t enough. The plot is incredibly weak, only a couple key events happen in the entirety of almost 400 pages. I think it could’ve easily been cut down, or even made into a novella. In fact, I’m struggling to write this review because I barely remember what happens, this book is so forgettable.
A few times I did consider DNFing, but I’ve always been one to push myself through a book in (usually foolish) hope that things will get better. But it did help to have a handful of engaging elements to keep me going, so let’s cover the positive things first.
I really liked Mina as a character. She’s very much like you’d expect the Evil Queen to be, with hidden layers and complicated motivations. I also liked the twists the author took on the original Snow White tale, along with the unique (and slightly weird) magic woven throughout the story. The inclusion of a f/f romance was appreciated as well, I much preferred to read about Snow White falling in love with another cool girl than stuffy old Prince Charming. The first 100 pages or so held the most surprising twists for me, so unfortunately the story really only went downhill from there.
Along with being achingly slow, the writing is a bit choppy and hard to understand. I felt like there were these flowery descriptions that sounded nice just for the sake of sounding nice, and didn’t actually mean much.
Lynet as a character is quite unimpressive. She came off as immature and simply dull. Her chapters paled in comparison to Mina’s, which were “meh” already. Everyone seems to hype up the romance in this book, which does have important LGBTQ+ rep, but is barely existent. It’s such a small part of the book that I couldn’t bring myself to care about it much.
Despite the few things that I did like, this book really wasn’t for me. Maybe I expected too much from a slower-paced fantasy, since I clearly seem to be an outlier in my thoughts. But if you’re used to sword-fighting, intense dark magic, and high-stakes adventure, this may not be for you either.